Sake + Shochu Talk
$100/5 Days/NYC/Tourist
Day 1

Ok it's pretty official: I'm SO SCREWED. To make it through the next 3 days, I'm gonna have to somehow keep it to $12/day. But I'm sticking to it for as long as I can, damnit! Trying to balance play with budget is hard- especially when you don't see your friends too often to begin with.

Hardest thing is restraining when ordering- I want it all! It's a really bad habit that I blame completely on my mother- the woman will seriously order everything on the menu. Awesome slash Expensive and utterly spoiled.

So I've been trying to at least suggest places that are super cheap. I've been exceling in that department. But when it comes time to order... FAIL!!!

I had a work-related breakfast meeting at this super neat biker shop/cafe, the NYC Motorcycle Federation. I had been really curious about this place since reading about it. Totally something you would find in Milan or Tokyo- Harleys in the windows, one wall devoted to leather jackets and motorcycle paraphernalia, the other a modest cafe proudly serving Illy coffee.

The cute barista proudly boasted that he makes a damn good cappucino. I looked up at the menu, it was $3.50. Instead, I ordered a tea- the cheapest thing on the menu at $2. Took me a good 30 seconds to decide (capuccino. tea. cappucino. tea), but for some reason I make the soundest finance decisions before noon. It's all downhill from there.

Kat was super nice and picked up the tab at the end of our meeting. I figured this was a work meeting so should let this one slide. No argument there.

Lunch with Kiwa down the street at Corner Bistro. I would contest that it's still one of the best burgers in town. Super cheap, and great jukebox, too. But omg, their burger went up to $6!!! Last time I was here it was still like $4.50. Sigh.

It's St. Patty's Day (which I had forgotten about), so I order a McSorley's Dark beer. So refreshing, and at $2.50, who can resist? Corner Bistro is the only place in the city that I have found who serves McSorley's on tap.

Cheeseburger, medium rare. Not bloody enough. Next time, order it rare here.

Next, dinner plans with good friends at Great NY Noodle Town. Seriously, it's in my top 5 NYC restaurants, and it's the first place that comes to mind when anyone asks me where I definitely want to eat in NYC. Maybe it's the roasted birds hanging in the window. Maybe that it's open till 4am everyday. Maybe the obscene flourescent lights. Maybe all the MSG. Maybe the wonton noodle soup for $4. Maybe it's the bad drawing of a duck on this back-lit mirror (below). I love it all.

When you're with old friends, you can't just order a $4 bowl of soup for yourself. You just can't- even if you're on some lame $20/day budget. Eating out with friends is a communal experience, and should never be just about you. You've gotta keep it real, always.

So we went to town. Of course. Lydia, Shirley and I, we pulled up our sleeves and threw down- I love these girls so much. Clams in blackbean sauce, sauteed bok choy, egg foo noodles with crab...

Shirley: "Is that enough?"
Kayoko: "I think so, definitely."
Lydia: "Didn't you guys want the chicken?"
Kayoko (thinking about budget): "...uhhh..."
Shirley: "Yah, that sounds good."
Kayoko: "Yah, ok, let's do it."

FAILLLLLL!!!! Seriously, I love their soy sauce chicken so much- I caved!!!

Lydia: "And I'll get a Tsing Tao, please."
Shirley: "Yah I'll have one too."
Kayoko: "Agh, what the hell, it's St. Patty's Day, me too."

FAILLLLLLL. Ordering alcohol at restaurants is the #1 way to blow your money!!!

You always get sweet orange slices at the end of the meal, plus moist towelettes. It's a treat worth looking forward to.

Shirley: "I wonder where they these oranges."
Kayoko: "Chinatown!"

Bill was $50.40. All that food and beers for $50!!! Insanity. Long live Noodle Town.

DAY 2 TOTAL (including tax & tip)
- Corner Bistro beer and cheeseburger: $11
- Great NY Noodle Town: $20
--> $31
Day 1 Total: $31.48

Money left for 3 more days: $37.52

There is just no fucking way.